#PrayforParis #PrayforLebenon and #PrayforBaghdad were common place for a long time on Twitter once the news broke on the attacks happening around the world. And while we NEED to pray, we need to do more than JUST pray if we are able.
Friday night 129 people were killed (at the time of this post) in a multi-site terrorist attack in Paris, France, 40 were killed in a bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, and 18 people were killed by a suicide bomber at a funeral in Baghdad, Iraq. Japan is still dealing with the aftermath of another major Tsunami and Mexico is dealing with the destruction left by the worst hurricane ever recorded in the West Hemisphere. First responders and Aid organizations are already heavily active as the local populations are still trying to recover. Medical supplies, food, water, and shelter are being brought to these places to take care of those in need. It is no small undertaking.
As Christians, first and foremost, we need to pray. There is no doubt about that. But we need also to be there for anyone that needs help. Christ physically died for us, serving us in the most life-giving way possible. We need to be willing to humble ourselves and serve others.
When we read Acts and the letters in the New Testament the leaders of the early church were willing to die for the work they did. They provided money, housing, education, rehabilitation, and more to complete strangers at the risk of their own lives.
As Entrepreneurs and Professionals, Civic Leaders, Cultural Creatives, and Church Planters, not only do we all have a responsibility to pray, but a responsibility to be ready and willing to act in the ways we can with the gifts God has given us.
I could easily write an article on each area but I wanted to provide you with a brief brainstorming opportunity as you seek to serve within the capacity Christ has given you:
Entrepreneurs and Professionals
You have the unique position of being able to provide a huge service, and do it without a marketing team directing the project. I have seen all too often fund raising campaigns that go like this:
For every *product* you purchase in the next *time frame* we will donate *x* to help *cause*.
The issue with this? What if no one purchased anything in that time frame? Are you really not going to do anything for that cause? Give for the sake of giving alone. Don’t do it for your own gain.
I heard a story which I struggled to find the source for, so I apologize. But it was of Mark Zuckerburg going onto Facebook and saying something similar to the statement above. When someone confronted him on it, saying “why should we spend our money? I bet Mark isn’t giving anything himself.” Mark replied with something towards the effect of, “I gave 20 million out of my own pocket before we started this campaign, how much are you giving?” This is the right mentality. You want to raise money for a cause? Do it, but don’t do it for a good public appearance, do it because it is the right thing to do.
Civic LeadersYou have the ability to use your position for change. You have spent years building up a network of relationships and partnerships that can be leveraged to help those truly in need (in times of crisis or otherwise). The influence you have can mobilize people and resources effectively or even get the media talking about what the best use of the resources would be. You can use the Incident Command System for good.
But again, all to often this is done for your own advantage. Rarely do we see politicians stand up for something right that isn’t a political move to get them elected. Do it because you know it must be done, not because your PR team says it is a good move. You have been given a gift of leadership, use it to benefit those under you.
You have the most powerful gift of all when it comes to the aftermath and future outlook on crisis scenarios. Plays depicting the right and wrong responses to these attacks. Photography and art depicting the emotions of the moment. Songs talking about the struggles of those rebuilding.
You also are the ones that get the fundraising and social campaigns started. You publish the articles in local and online papers. You can use your own influence to benefit others.
Use your gifts to show the love of Christ through even the most trying times. Don’t use it to push the hate and ignorance of sin.
You have the power to help in real-time. Prepare your church years ahead of time by becoming servants in your communities. If you are local to a crisis open your doors, your homes, your kitchens, your supply closets and welcome everyone in. Not because you want to win them for Christ, but because they deserve to eat, to sleep in a warm bed, to heal. Ultimately we hope our actions and relationships gained through these things will cause them to see Christ for who he is, but if we are not willing to welcome people in to our space just as they are then we will only push them further away.
Not local to a crisis? Get connected with churches that are local and ask them what they need to help their communities. Don’t come to them saying ‘this is what we can give’ but instead ask them ‘what do you need?’
To round this out I wanted to go to twitter. If you are not familiar with Twitter it has become place of first response to global events. Here are a handful of the excellent tweets I saw this weekend while wading through all the #prayforparis tweets.
Facebook activates safety status tool after deadly Paris attacks: The social network’s Safety Check tool is de… https://t.co/QqhUV0jHnA
— Integrity Tech (@IntegrityWebs) November 14, 2015
In the wake of what happened in Paris. Be assured we will be diligent in protecting our community. If you need anything plz call. 486-6606 — LAPD Central Area (@LAPDCentralArea) November 14, 2015
A musician in France is setting up a free music stream with programming hosted by local artists
J’ai passé la nuit à réfléchir à ce que je pouvais faire. Ce qui me semble légitime : la musique. 1 radio éphémère avec artistes invités 1/2
— Christine&theQueens (@QueensChristine) November 14, 2015
Un stream gratuit, des émissions animées par des artistes. Plusieurs répondent déjà à l’appel. Plus d’informations très bientôt j’espère 2/2 — Christine&theQueens (@QueensChristine) November 14, 2015
and for the last example: Mashable setup a new twitter account and has dedicated one tweet per victim of the Paris attacks. I recommend checking it out.
Tweets by @ParisVictims